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Childhood Family Dynamics: When Loved Ones Welcome An Abuser Back, And I Want Them Out Of My And My Family’s Life.




This post is really helpful and sorry if this isn’t the right place. As a child I have memories of being abused by another older child who was not related but was looked after by a direct family member, I was maybe 7 at the time whilst the abuser was 14/15. I completely buried this as at the time I was confused, uncomfortable and on some level at that age knew it was wrong but I was also frightened. And for that reason I never told a soul. The abuser disappeared after a few years and I had buried those memories.

Fast forward 25 years later and i came face to face with my abuser in a relatives kitchen which triggered all this horrible trauma and feelings and I am now coming face to face with the abuser on a regular occasion as they have somehow gotten close to a direct family member and they appear with their family whenever I visit my family.

I get very angry and I have told my family for the past 2 years I don’t want to be near this person and I have never revealed the real reason because it’s difficult to live with and so I have just carried on as if nothing had happened saying I just don’t like them. Which has been eating me up alive. It’s taken me 2 years and many interactions later to overcome the self doubt and guilt and shame as to accept this did really happen. I have one very clear memory which confirms this and when I try to recollect I just get very emotional and angry like my body is still trying to protect itself.

My feelings towards this person are anger and I don’t want to be near them. Whilst I accept this person was also a child at the time, it doesn’t matter as they were much older than me. I don’t want revenge, and I don’t care if they are the nicest person alive now.

They are an adult now and probably very different but It won’t change history, but what can change is removing them from my life. I don’t want to be near them as it’s bringing up uncomfortable and weird feelings and it’s getting to a point where my family are not respecting that I don’t want to be near them by saying I don’t like them, meaning I now have share the real reason why I don’t like this person and it will be deeply painful and embarrassing to share.

I expect them to remove him from their lives and if they don’t I just can’t have anything to do with them.

I don’t want to forgive - I want this person away from me and my family. I am also extremely angry at a family member as this happened when they were supposed to be looking after me as a child and now as an adult they have welcomed this individual back into the family after so many years.

Has anyone else been confronted with a similar situation? If so what did you do? Would you also recomend therapy? And should I cut the family member out of my life if they don’t respect me once I divulge what happened?
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my family are not respecting that I don’t want to be near them by saying I don’t like them, meaning I now have share the real reason why I don’t like this person and it will be deeply painful and embarrassing to share.
I don’t give a f*ck who dislikes people I like, it in no way influences how I think/feel/act. I’m not going to stop seeing my friend, because another friend doesn’t like them. Nor am I going to stop seeing one family member because another family member doesn’t like them.

Katie/Johnny/SusieQ doesn’t like you, so now I don’t like you, either!… Just isn’t how I live my life, or treat people in it.

Not since I was maybe 5 or 6yo. And even then? It didn’t make sense to me why it was “supposed” to be like that. (It isn’t. It’s a very brief stage in early childhood & teenage years, most people either grow out of on their own, or have an adult sit down and thunk them with guilt/shame/disappointment over how they’re behaving.)

Someone giving me solid reason WHY I should not like someone, on the other hand? Is a completely different matter.

It’s about 50/50 on whether or not I agree with them.
Personally? I would definitely recommend therapy. Not just to help you heal from the trauma you’ve been through, but to also help you navigate exactly these types of situations.

I expect them to remove him from their lives and if they don’t I just can’t have anything to do with them.
Is this necessary?

For me, there is a person in my family who is going to be there, irrespective of what he’s done to me, irrespective of how much I’ve disclosed, irrespective of how much distress it causes me.

That’s my issue. No one else’s. Which is horribly unfair - but trauma tends to be like that.

Instead of giving power to the people around me to either make my life easier, or horribly difficult, it’s my decision what I feel I can, or can’t tolerate regarding his presence. My family aren’t going to cut him out of their lives. They simply aren’t. For a range of shitty, unfair reasons. But that’s how life very often goes with family.

This isn’t your family’s issue. This is your issue. You have the power to simply leave. No one can force you to stay in this person’s presence. And if that’s what you need to do? Do that.

If you require the rest of your family to choose, are they likely to cut this person out of their lives? Or are you going to end up being the one that loses everyone in the family, rather than just the abusive person?

Maybe I’m too jaded by my own experience. But the path you’re suggesting? Seems to most often result in the victim loses their whole family, in an attempt to simply avoid one person.
I don't have a similar situation. But my parents are friends with a convicted paedophile and a convicted kidnapper/rapist/torturer. I repeatedly have asked them not to talk about those people to me (or compare me to the kidnapper/rapist which they do at times). So many years I've been upset that they haven't listened to my requests and they continue to talk to me about them. And finally finally finally, I've realised I am making my boundary something for them to do, rather than something for me to do.
So the last time they brought up the convicted paedophile, i said i can leave if they want to talk about him. Because they can talk about him. I just don't need to be there to hear it. It's my boundary to enforce. I need to remove myself.

So, do you need to tell them what he did to you? Because you might run the risk of them not giving a shit. I don't know your family. But my family certainly wouldn't, and would carry on anyways.

Or do you just ask them who is visiting, and then decide if you will visit or not if you know he is there.
I think reaching out to a therapist for their support before making a decision would be a good idea. It took me a very long time to be able to talk to my family about what happened to me, and I don't think I ever would have done it without the support of my therapist. I think it would have caused me a large amount of distress.

My immediate family is supportive of me setting boundaries about how much contact with people involved with my trauma that I want to have. My therapist has never met my family, but she understands our dynamics so well that it feels like she knows them. She was a big help in getting me ready to put my trust in them. Things are more complicated with my extended family, but I'm okay with that.
I’ve been in a similar situation and for me I do think my family should not see, nor talk to the people who abused me. For me it’s a principle. Either the person is a bad person people shouldn’t socialize with or they’re not. Now I’m open to an apology from the person because good people do bad things but good people also know when something is bad and therefore make amends. I’m not getting that apology anytime soon because he is not a good person and seems to have no remorse for me or the other people he did it to. Which means people I think are good people shouldn’t socialize with him. It calls into question if they’re a good person or not.

So I have two choices one I forgive and get over my feelings or two I disconnect from my family. Currently, knowing this I’m on the fence. I’m angry my family brings up his name and tells me about his world and I’m not ready to cut them out of my life. What I should do is put up a boundary and tell my family they can either stop talking about him or stop talking to me.